Sustainability Soars in 2021

 Homebuilders and homebuyers see the benefits of sustainability.

By Camille Manaloto

As 2021 comes to an end, we reflect on the progress the green homebuilding industry has made. Sustainability has become more than just a trend and many large homebuilders are committing to meet different green building standards. Since 2020 the market for green homes has continued to grow and is now becoming standard in many states. 

Sustainability in homebuilding is no longer only about the foundation of the house. We’ve seen changes in every part of the homebuilding process, such as changes in the paint, insulation, countertop materials, molding, heating and roofing. 

In her column, Chloe Chapman, Program Manager of Build It Green, discusses the evolution of green homebuilding and sustainability. She stresses the importance of not only our own health, but the health of the environment. Homebuilders need to collaborate with the communities around them to take a more holistic approach to improve the quality of life for the people living there. 

“Additionally, there has been a paradigm shift in how we build homes, due to both backed-up supply chains for traditional materials and the sheer number of homes that need to be built,” Chapman said. “This has sparked an emergence of 3D-printed and factory-built home companies that prioritize reducing product waste, less disruption at the job site and expediting the time it takes to design and build a home.”

This unconventional way of building houses is quickly gaining the attention of large homebuilders. In an October article by Axios, 3D printed homes can tackle multiple challenges the homebuilding industry is facing right now, such as the affordable housing crisis, the shortage of skilled labor and rising material costs. Some of these developers are even adapting to technology to reduce the amount of carbon that is released in the process.

Over the past year, homeowners have made their health and wellness a priority as they’ve seen the benefits of a healthy home. Since the pandemic, the role that the home has taken has dramatically changed. It is now the office, the school, the gym, the spa and much more. The home has become central to our lives like never before.

Design professionals have noticed specific trends to fit this new lifestyle. Angela Harris, CEO and Principal of TRIO, says that because sustainability has become one of the biggest trends, homebuyers have become very involved in the process and making informed decisions when picking a home that fits their needs.

According to The America at Home Study 2020, the pandemic has shifted consumer’s home priorities to having an environment that evokes safety, comfortability, and security. One big finding was that it has become more important to consumers to make their home a sanctuary and they are more comfortable spending money to have the spaces they need, such as flex rooms, private offices, and outdoor living spaces. 

“As we move into 2022, we expect to see more interior designers, architects, builders and home & design companies in general take more tangible steps towards being more sustainable, conscious and health-driven,” Harris writes.

Multifamily housing is also experiencing a large amount of change. Marissa Kasdan, Director of Design for KTGY’s R+D Studio, shares trends in multifamily housing she feels will be long lasting. Three trends she’s noticed are adaptive reuse, innovation in construction and sustainable design.  

“While the strategies of mass timber construction, adaptive reuse, and sustainable design have become integral to so many conversations during this past year, these concepts began long before 2021, and they will continue long after,” Kasdan explains. 

As the year winds down and 2022 quickly approaches, the future of green homebuilding is bright and has never been more in demand as it is now. In the age of COVID, sustainability amongst both homebuilders and consumers has become increasingly important and will continue to soar.

Camille Manaloto is the Assistant Editor of Green Home Builder Magazine. She can be reached at camille@builder.media.